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Multi-purpose sorting for flexible fashion replenishment

All logistic processes linked by one sortation system.

Combining functionality in one sorter

The new Sweden-based Distribution Centre (DC) for fashion retailer, Varner, relies on a multi-purpose sorter for flexible and seamless distribution to replenish stock for 1550 shops across Scandinavia, Germany and Poland.

A system-wide approach to ware¬housing and distribution allows Varner to use the single system to link all core operational processes. The system also enables multiple flow routes to be sorted simultaneously from in-feed to dispatch. The connections to different processes enable the sorter to be used multiple times for each circulation of items.

Before the sorter was designed and installed, every logistical process was analysed by BEUMER Group, working with Swisslog and Varner. The analysis included areas which are not directly linked to the sorter. It also considered how technologies could be combined to deliver the highest levels of efficiency.

The single system accurately manages different flow patterns simultaneously, allowing any carton to be routed to any area within the DC. The ability to re-circulate items allows Varner to increase the flexibility of the sortation process.

With a floorspace of 47,000 square meters and a complex replenishment profile, the sorter adds the flexibility which is essential for delivering a controlled material flow. The sortation system also provides a rapid response to changes in the profile of items and adjusts the system capacity for seasonal changes in demand.

  • 98 %

    system availability
  • 1500

    stores replenished
  • 60000

    AutoStore® bin locations

Multi-channel material flows

In-bound items are accepted loose loaded or in palletised cartons and have a Ware¬house Management System (WMS) label automatically applied before induction onto the sorter.

Loose items are batch-built by the Order Release Module (ORM) system which features discharges with moveable side guards and very narrow lanes to minimise footprint. Stock-Keeping Units (SKUs) are buffered into individual lanes and a single lane of cartons is discharged for packing onto pallets.

In-bound cartons are routed to the Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) which also receives excess cartons from any in-bound flow to be held as replenishment inventory. Outbound cartons are sorted directly to shipping and cartons for next-day dispatch are sent to the AutoStore®.

Control optimises every process

A colour-coded graphical overview gives system-wide visibility of workflows. Tight control of individual machines is supported by the seamless integration of the BEUMER Group sorter and Swisslog SCADA system. The control allows optimisation of system availability. This is combined with low power consumption and carbon dioxide emissions in addition to low maintenance costs.

Built-in redundancy enables the distribution centre to maintain almost full capacity when an element such as a cart, belt or induction unit is not in operation.

The automatic generation of maintenance reports, which are linked to the spares inventory system, minimises the cost of ownership. The LS-4000CB cross-belt sorter support the cost-efficiency of the sortation and replenishment processes.

The multi-purpose BHS enables continual optimisation and drives the increased capacity which enables a sophisticated response to growth in the e-commerce market.

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Thomas Wiesmann

Director Sales Logistic Systems

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